Friday, February 16, 2007

Evangelicals and culture

Michael Spencer of internetmonk.com has been doing a series of posts on Evangelical Anxieties, and in this, his sixth part, he explores the Evangelicals' fears in relation to culture.
This article brings to mind several topics that I've been pondering of late.
N. T. Wright, a fine Anglican New Testament scholar, fills his writings with a theme of the true identity of the Kingdom of God; as he says in The Lord and His Prayer:
Think of the vision at the end of Revelation. It isn't about humans being snatched up from earth to heaven. The holy city, new Jerusalem, comes down from heaven to earth. God's space and ours are finally married, integrated at last. That is what we pray for when we pray 'thy Kingdom come'.

The kingdom is not something to look forward to as an escape from the hardships and pains of the present reality; that would be gnosticism, not Christianity. Rather, the kingdom is what was initiated in the Incarnation, it is God's place finally being integrated into man's place, and it continues today in the church.
Yet this integration, this coming of God's kingdom that we seek when voicing the Lord's Prayer, is hindered today by the fears of the Body of Christ and the attempts at a sort of isolationism by it. This can be well seen in the Evangelical community, and I believe that internetmonk is hitting the bullseye with this anxiety towards culture, which serves as a spur pricking the side of the Evangelical intent in regards to this withdrawl from the world, or, the darkness that those withdrawing are called to be a light in, to bring the Incarnation into. This then would be a very dangerous anxiety for a people living under the Great Commission.
I thought the article was really good, obviously, or I wouldn't have brought it up here. So I hope you give it a read and give the whole idea some thought.

-N

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